Imagine you're a slave. You're woken in the morning. You eat what you're allowed to take. You go to your project and begin to work. If you're picturing traditional American slavery, then likely you don't have a lot of hope for a better brighter future. You won't be doing anything different today than you were doing yesterday. You don't have the opportunity to rise in the ranks or pursue a different occupation for your time. Regardless of your skill set or passion, your life is determined by a plantation owner--who also owns you.
However, if you think of Egyptian culture there may be a chance that you can develop a reputation as a hard worker, a brilliant thinker, or in the case of the Old Testament Biblical character, Joseph, a man of wise perception: one who could interpret dreams. This might give you the hope of one day rising above your current station and doing something new!
Joseph was a slave. He was sold--by his brothers--and taken to Egypt. There he worked hard, but was still abused by his owner's wife. She used her influence to have Joseph imprisoned. While in prison he still worked--still used his talent to interpret the dreams of another inmate. That inmate had worked directly for the pharaoh--the god of Egypt. One day that inmate got set free and re-took his post at pharaoh's side. Then, years later, when pharaoh had a troubling dream, guess who he called to interpret it?
Correct! Joseph. Good guess!
Through his diligence, honorable intent, and reliance on his God (not pharaoh), Joseph worked his way up the ranks through his character, talent, and using every opportunity--even while in dire circumstances. Even as a slave. Even as a prisoner. He was able to make the best of the situation.
Isn't that encouraging?! Eh, well, if being a slave or a prisoner is the cost of success, then maybe it's not the most inspiring...
Does it matter that after years a of suffering, Joseph finally gets a break? I mean, don't get me wrong. He's able to use his position under pharaoh to save his family (and all of Egypt) from starving to death through years of drought. He's empowered to do amazing things because he can use Pharaoh's power to support his own authority.
It took Joseph a long time to arrive at a place of power, but remember he was a slave. His life was not his own. He simply did the best he could in a tough situation. What if he hadn't been enslaved in Egypt? What if he had been the master of his own destiny? Would had have chosen to venture to Egypt, serve the pharaoh, and suffer through prison? Likely not. He likely would have been a shepherd with his family.
So you could venture that Joseph would have missed out by not being a slave... Right?
True. At least, for Joseph specifically.
But, wait a minute, let's look at the slave theory for building the pyramids: Hundreds of thousands of people spend their lives building pyramids for over 2, 000 years. How many of them end up at the right hand of pharaoh? Hm, not many. Rather, how many lived without notoriety? The pyramids needed the people to complete the work. But did the people need the pyramids to have fulfilling lives?
Their technology required manpower. The pharaoh's wanted to use people to complete their tasks--to bring them honor--to build a legacy--to put their mark on the map. But was it worth it for the individual people to devote their lives to the pharaoh's projects?
What about you? You are not a slave. Technology is advanced and available.
You can do anything.
What are you choosing to do today?
Being a Slave is not a privilege. Hundreds of thousands of people built the pyramids, but they did not all receive praise for their work. It was just their work. But Joseph from the old testament of the Bible was a slave. And he received some great notoriety.
What made Joseph so Successful?
See the next Post:
Character: It's what makes life worth living.